Statement of U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick Following Senate Approval of Morocco Free Trade Agreement
"Today’s vote of 85 to 13 by the Senate to approve a U.S.-Morocco Free Trade Agreement expands our economic relationship with one of America’s oldest friends.
"This agreement is a boon for America’s manufacturers and farmers. On the first day that the U.S.-Morocco Free Trade Agreement goes into effect, 95 percent of the two-way trade in industrial and consumer products will be without tariffs. U.S. farmers will also find additional opportunities, especially in grains and meat products. And Morocco has made broad commitments to open its service sector, creating new opportunities for U.S. banking, insurance, telecommunications, and technology companies.
"I would especially like to thank Senators Grassley and Baucus for their leadership. Their efforts to shepherd this agreement through the Senate was invaluable.
"This free trade agreement with Morocco, our first with an African country and our second with an Arab country, signals our commitment to deepening America’s relationship with the Middle East and North Africa. It is another major step forward in implementing President Bush’s plan for a Middle East Free Trade Area, building on our existing agreements with Israel, Jordan. And we look forward to entering into an FTA with Bahrain in the near future.
"Free trade is on offense, and the cause of open markets is now advancing on all fronts. In the last twelve months, Congress has approved four new free trade agreements, all with large bipartisan majorities. Working together with Congress, the Administration is putting Trade Promotion Authority to good use and America is at the forefront of the global move toward expanded trade.
"We have completed agreements with twelve countries, and are negotiating with ten others. These new and pending FTA partners, taken together, would constitute America’s third largest export market and the sixth largest economy in the world. America also has led efforts to advance the Doha Development Agenda of the WTO this year. To open new markets for America’s workers and farmers, this Administration will be persistent in every negotiation, relentless in enforcing every agreement, and active in seeking out new opportunities in every region of the world."
This Administration has completed free trade agreements with Chile, Jordan, Singapore, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Australia, Morocco, the Dominican Republic, and Bahrain.
The United States is currently negotiating free trade agreements with Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Thailand and with the five nations of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) – Botswana, South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland and Namibia.
In addition to negotiating FTAs, the United States will continue to aggressively press for global free markets through the World Trade Organization and for hemispheric openness, through the creation of a Free Trade Area of the Americas.